Do Millennials Really Feel Entitled?

A few weeks ago, we read an article in the NY Times about a young man who was having difficulty finding a job in the recessionary workplace. We considered writing a letter in response to the article because we found the young man’s situation contrary to almost all of AIM’s research for MILLENNIALS At HOME, but there were already a flood of responses from incensed Times readers. The young man had graduated from an elite liberal arts college in 2004, was still living with (and fully supported by) his parents, and, having been turned down for a management training position, was unwilling to accept a $40,000 entry level job at a prestigious insurance company because he deemed it “dead end.” Most comments responding to the article referred to him as “spoiled,” “a whiner,” and that he should have taken the job offer and “worked” his way to a better position.

In AIM’s research on the Millennial generation, we found that most young people do not share this young man’s sense of entitlement. In fact, in over 100 one-on-one interviews, a serious of online focus groups and a survey to over 1,000, we found that, while remaining optimistic about their futures overall, most Millennials are willing to work hard to achieve their goals and that attitude is reflected in how they live as well as in the types of jobs they have accepted. Perhaps the Recession has brought a dose of reality to the expectations of this highly sophisticated and well-educated generation, but, in any case, we found that many of them are learning to make “lemonade” out of their economic “lemons.” Bartenders with BA’s in Philosophy are learning how to run restaurants, economist/lifeguards are learning about coastal real estate, and biologist/housepainters are evolving into “green” home renovators. These young people are creative, innovative, and definitely not lazy.

Link to NY Times Article: